Maureen Rogers had a great post on OpinionatedMarketers.com (okay, that’s a candidate for a standing head) in which she states that B2B Tech buyers want more content from us. They love to read, and I think she’s right there. She cites Knowledge Storm’s “Connecting Through Content” (free download after onerous registration). From that article:
This study shows that 61% of technology buyers look for different kinds of information at various points in the buying cycle. They want content that directly addresses the issues they face at each point in the decision process, wheter that’s evaluating the financial consequences of a purchase or tackling the intricacies of implementing a new enterprise techology.
But whatever the constraints that small companies face – and half of the companies I work with don’t have a marketing department at all, so they face many – size shouldn’t be an excuse for not mapping content to where the buyer is in their buying cycle.
White papers topped the list of what’s on the technology buyers reading list.
I’m in total agreement – being a small business doesn’t mean the rules don’t apply to you. You can indeed take control of the buying cycle, and the web is the place you can do it. Set expectations for customers, help them find ways to define their needs, and to prepare for your product or service. By better educating them, you will accomplish a couple of goals:
- They see you in a more professional light.
- They will be a better customer when they sign up, having had their expectations set for them.
- They will have more respect for your views having already bought into your particular methodology.
I do caution you to think outside of the box. The corporate version of the old movie saw “Hey kids, let’s put on a show” is “Hey folks, let’s do a whitepaper.”
As I state in the comments stream of Maureen’s post, whitepapers may be useful, but my experience is they don’t get read as much as we think they do. To that end, as with any marketing project, I strongly advise you remember that you’ve got to offer both relevant content and you’ve got to offer it in a relevant format.
If you are explaining to someone how they operate a Swingline stapler, you can get away with words. The problem is that some things just can’t be adequately explained in words. My best example is the Doublehaul, which is fly fishing technique used to combat wind and get better distance. Here is a textual explanation. I’ve been fly fishing since I was young, and it sounds like something NASA designed. Here is a link to a video by some guy that’s maybe 20 seconds long, and you get the idea better than reading the previous article by one of the fly fishing legends.
Yes, content is an excellent entre to customers, but we must offer it in the proper format. Think about it next time before writing that 40 page opus on “How to Write a Better TPS Report.”